GIVING toothbrushes and fluoride paste to children has halved the level of tooth decay in Runcorn and Widnes in six years.
Public health chiefs will hear next Wednesday that in 2006 the average five-year-old in the borough had 2.1 rotten or missing teeth but this figure fell to 1.09 by 2012.
A report to members said the pace of improvement in the borough was faster than the national average.
Dramatic falls were seen in Beechwood, Runcorn, where the rate of decay dropped by nearly two thirds from its 2006 figure, and in Birchfield, Widnes, where the number of crumbling teeth more than halved.
However, decay rose in Ditton, Widnes, over the same period.
The state intervened over the dire state of the borough’s children’s gnashers in 2006 after years of trailing behind the North West and national average standards.
Under the scheme, led by the now-defunct NHS Halton And St Helens PCT, fluoride toothpaste and a brush were given to every child in Halton aged three-11 years twice every 12 months until 2010.
A report published for Halton Council’s health board said: “In 2006, child dental health in the borough was poor.
“In England at that time, 38% of children aged five years had experienced tooth decay, the figure in Halton was 51%, with each five-year-old having, on average 2.01 decayed, missing or filled teeth.
“There were only four Halton electoral wards in which the proportion of five-year-olds with active tooth decay was lower than the national average inBirchwood, Birchfield, Daresbury, Farnworth.
“The position was similar among the 12-year-old population.
”It added: “By 2012, decay levels had fallen by 46% to 1.09, with 33.6% of children affected.
“During the same period there have been improvements nationally in levels of child dental health but these improvements are not as great as those found in Halton.”